The only part of my body I’ve ever been ashamed of are my thighs. Family members occasionally teased me during adolescence (a very sensitive time of life) about my “thunder thighs,” but even if they never had, I knew that swimsuit ads never featured girls like me. So my thighs became a liability in my attractiveness, and I learned to hide that liability as best I could.
They call it dressing for your body type. In some ways I like the concept: it helps me blend in, and nobody notices my more embarrassing features when I cover them up.
On the other hand, it pisses me off a little. Why should this body part be embarrassing to me? Who is the jerk-off who started telling women that they should do the world a favor and wear shorts over their bathing suits if their thighs rub together? Who stands to gain from telling women that their bodies aren’t good enough?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the “self-acceptance regardless of exercise” camp. I want to strive for bodily health which includes working out, and I do not want to communicate to other women who are insecure about their body that self-acceptance means stop trying to take care of your body. But do it for your health’s sake. For your heart and lungs and bones and joints and everything else in your intricately-woven-together body to function properly. For your quality of life to go up. And if your body so happens to begin conforming into our culture’s standard of beauty, chock it up to a side effect of taking care of your health.
Keep in mind, too, that if your body starts to change, your heart may be a little more vulnerable during the transition. Maybe you like the change but other people start to judge you for it. Maybe you don’t like the change because people start treating you differently. Take care of your heart during this time just as much as you are taking care of your body.
And if your body doesn’t change much while you are taking care of yourself, don’t give up. You are worth taking care of, even if it’s you who are taking care of yourself, and even if nobody else notices that you are.
You are lovely, and you deserve to give yourself a long and healthy life, and you have the right to wear whatever the hell you want (just so long as it doesn’t violate any indecency standards). May you find comfort and satisfaction in your clothing choices, in the sensitive regions of your heart, and in the reflection you meet in the mirror.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels